What We Do


Aquatic Habitat Toronto (AHT) provides support for Waterfront Toronto and other proponents working on the waterfront by facilitating the approvals process.

In order for a project to be implemented on the waterfront, a variety of approvals are required. Examples include environmental assessments (federal and/or provincial) and fisheries approvals.

When a proponent is working on the waterfront and there is any chance of negatively impacting fish habitat, compensation for the potential loss is required. AHT will help direct and design the aquatic habitat compensation such that it satisfies the Toronto Waterfront Aquatic Habitat Restoration Strategy (TWAHRS) and will provide aquatic habitat in a location that will benefit the living creatures.

Port Union Highland Creek pedestrian bridge

Process for Projects Review

If your project involves work in and around Toronto’s waterfront, Aquatic Habitat Toronto can help you receive project approvals. The goal of AHT is to make it easier to obtain regulatory permits so projects can start sooner.

If your project requires fisheries compensation, AHT can direct you to areas where the fish community will see the greatest improvement.

Once you have identified the location of the project and the type of work please contact:
Thomas Sciscione, Coordinator, Aquatic Habitat Toronto
416.661.6600 ext 5628 | tsciscione@trca.on.ca

AHT welcomes consultants and project managers to share their project proposals. Members of the following agencies participate in AHT:

Projects are reviewed by all of the agencies at the same time, and advice is provided to the Consultant or Project Manager.


The other focus of AHT is to evaluate and advance the role of science in the management of aquatic habitat in the Toronto region.

The goal is to answer questions about aquatic habitat on the Toronto waterfront — questions about water quality, sediment quality, phytoplankton availability, and a host of other issues.

The answers to these questions can then feed back into the design of future aquatic habitat through adaptive management.

TRCA monitoring staff measure fish size

Aquatic Habitat Toronto partners with various universities and government agencies to study the Toronto waterfront:

Research Projects


Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), in cooperation with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Science Group, monitors the abundance and health of the fish populations within the jurisdiction of Toronto.

The monitoring method to date has primarily consisted of sampling the fish with different gear types and methods that reveal the nature of the fish communities inhabiting the different areas within the jurisdiction.

In the interest of obtaining information on the behaviour and habitat utilization of the fish community inhabiting the Toronto Harbour, TRCA has teamed with researchers from DFO and Carleton University to undertake an acoustic fish study.

TRCA monitoring staff conduct acoustic telemetry study

The objectives of this study are:

  • To assess pre- and post-restoration movements and habitat use.
  • To identify habitats favoured by native over non-native species.
  • To collect pre-restoration data.
  • To assess residency.
  • To identify key areas of use by season.

TRCA, DFO and Carleton University have deployed receivers in pre-determined locations within and around the Toronto Inner Harbour as part of the ongoing fisheries monitoring program. The receivers will communicate with tags surgically implanted in fish, allowing us to track their habitat utilization.

Tags have been implanted in the following species: Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye and Yellow Perch.

The receiver deployment locations have been selected to allow us to accurately triangulate the position of the fish around the inner harbor, concentrating on potential fish habitat locations.

This is an ongoing research project.



During the spring, summer and autumn, TRCA monitors the Lake Ontario fish communities within their jurisidiction to determine the composition and abundance of the fishes found by electrofishing. Sampling occurs on an annual basis.

TRCA monitoring staff conduct electrofishing survey

Why do we monitor?

  • Biophysical inventories are the foundation of sound environmental planning and assessments.
  • Environmental monitoring is often required before, during and after construction activities to ensure that habitat mitigation and compensation objectives are achieved.
  • To facilitate acquiring regulatory approvals and permits.
  • Long-term or compliance monitoring is required to evaluate the effectiveness of habitat compensation, or to measure long-term environmental impacts.
  • To support research efforts.

Looking for data on the Toronto waterfront? CONTACT US.